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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Why Do Cats Meow?

An interesting tidbit about cat behavior: in this BBC clip from Cats Uncovered, veterinarian Dr. John Bradshaw of Bristol University says that cats use the vocalizations that work on their mothers when they're kittens (and then stop working when the kitten is weaned) with their humans as a way of getting attention:
The meow starts off as a kitten vocalization. Its something they use in order to call their mothers over…the mother is very attentive to those meows. And then as the kitten grows up, it gradually stops meowing, presumably because it just stops working. The mother wants to wean the kittens and stops responding. A pet cat is constantly meowing at its owner. It’s a way of getting the owner’s attention.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Here's a guy in a dinosaur costume shoveling snow.

A man donned a dinosaur costume to shovel snow in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

His wife, Amy Saxon White, told ABC News that he got the costume for Halloween and he loves to dress up for the kids.

He decided to put the costume back on in the snow to give a friend a laugh, she said.

White posted the photo to Facebook around 9 a.m. today and it already has over 2 million views.

Friday links

Roundup of links about snow: art, science, snowmen, world's largest snowball fight, snow removal, and more.

Advice from c. 1200: How to Survive the Winter.

Something to restore your faith in humanity: Man with stage IV bone cancer saves neighbor from burning home.

Mathematicians Have Found Strange New Ways to Cut Pizza Into Equal Slices.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include Valentine's Day reservations at White Castle, the anniversary of French King Louis XVI's guillotining in 1793. an infographic on the evolution of the Batmobile, and, for Stonewall Jackson's birthday, the story of his left arm's separate grave,

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Alton Brown's critique of Amazon's dumbest kitchen gadgets, with bonus Amazon reviews

This set of Alton Brown reviews is a hoot, and some of these single-use gadgets are pretty dumb.

Here's the strawberry slicer. Review: "After breaking any number of egg slicers trying to slice up my strawberries, I finally found THE tool I needed!"

The Baker's Edge Nonstick Edge Brownie Pan, Review: "You could blow $35 bucks on this, or you could just pour your brownie batter into muffin tins, which you already have, giving you more brownie-edge per unit of batter."

The iPerfect Kitchen Meat Handling & Shredding Claws. Review: "Very sturdy. I'm just not sure what I bought these for. A fork will do the same job."

The Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer. Review: "Sadly, this product broke upon first use. Returned for refund. 1 week later, I found one of its blades in my salad. Poor quality, and safety hazard. Recommend avoiding."

Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker. Review: "My excitement went from 10 to 2 :("

And my personal favorite: Rollie Hands-Free Automatic Electric Vertical Nonstick Easy Quick Egg Cooker. Review (spelling errors in original): "It work only one time then stop for ever never work again i think it is very sensetive .. Im disappointed."

Related posts:

Actual Reviews from Amazon Reenacted by Rhett & Link.

Product of the day at Amazon: temporary dye to restore the youthful pink color back to your labia (read the reviews)

Amazon item of the day: OptiSex Romantic Fantasy Swing Kit (maybe NSFW)

Also, Amazon has a list of its own favorite funny product reviews and a second collection of funny reviews inspired by reader input after the first list was published.) 

Brain Pickings has articles on The Art of the Humorous Amazon Review: Part 1 and Part 2.

Tuscan Whole Milk review excerpt (read the whole thing here):
Once upon a mid-day sunny, while I savored Nuts 'N Honey,
With my Tuscan Whole Milk, 1 gal, 128 fl. oz., I swore
As I went on with my lapping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at the icebox door.
'Bad condensor, that,' I muttered, 'vibrating the icebox door -
Only this, and nothing more.'
Not to sound like a complainer, but, in an inept half-gainer,
I provoked my bowl to tip and spill its contents on the floor.
Stupefied, I came to muddle over that increasing puddle,
Burgeoning deluge of that which I at present do adore -
Snowy Tuscan wholesomeness exclusively produced offshore -
Purg'ed here for evermore.
And the pool so white and silky, filled me with a sense of milky
Ardor of the type fantastic of a loss not known before,
So that now, to still the throbbing of my heart, while gently sobbing,
I retreated, heading straightway for the tempting icebox door -
Heedless of that pitter-patter tapping at the icebox door -
I resolved to have some more.
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
'This,' said I, 'requires an extra dram of milk, my favorite pour.'
To the icebox I aspired, motivated to admire
How its avocado pigment complemented my decor.
Then I grasped its woodgrain handle - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams of many Tuscans I had known before
But the light inside was broken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only words there spoken were my whispered words, 'No more!'
Coke and beer, some ketchup I set eyes on, and an apple core -
Merely this and nothing more.
One of my favorites is this review for Fresh Whole Rabbit:
Every week, I order a fresh whole rabbit and affix it to a remote control car that is operated by one of my children. This way, I get the thrill of the hunt, and when the car's batteries are exhausted, I can leap upon it, bury my teeth into the rabbit's soft flesh and perform my ritual victory dance right there in the Walgreen's parking lot.

Thursday links

It's Stonewall Jackson's birthday - here's the story of his left arm's separate grave (bonus: Lord Uxbridge's leg)

Look Up Before Sunrise for the Next Month to See 5 Planets at Once.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include how people in the 60's thought we'd dance in the future, why cans of Diet Coke float but cans of regular Coke don't, Buffy's 35th birthday and how the Revolutionary War was paid for?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tuesday links

Canadian shopper finds vodka bottles had been filled with water.

Why Do Cans of Diet Coke Float But Cans of Regular Coke Don't?

Buffy turns 35 today. Here's a list of her birthday catastrophes.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include Ben Franklin's birthday links (bio, his 200 synonyms for drunk, and the bodies found in his basement), that time in 1932 when the U.S. Army kicked U.S. veterans out of Washington, evidence that dinosaurs performed dances to woo mates, and the anniversary of the beginning of Prohibition.

Monday, January 18, 2016

How People In The 60's Thought We'd Dance In The Future

Hard to imagine why this show (the first ever German ScFi series) lasted less than three months. In English, the title was Space Patrol Orion. Here's Wikipedia:
Raumpatrouille – Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion (literal translation: Space Patrol – The Fantastic Adventures of the Spaceship Orion), also known as Raumpatrouille Orion, and Space Patrol Orion in English, was the first German science fiction television series. 
First episode date: September 17, 1966

Final episode date: December 10, 1966

Here's more:

h/t Joanne Casey.